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Obama raises fist to Israel

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th June 2009 03:00 AM

BY JOHN NAGENDA

“What you ate long ago returns long afterward.” Or more elegantly put in its original Luganda tongue: Okalya dda kadda dda. The returning is not always pleasant, indeed carries a whiff of revenge. The dish you ate long ago, an

BY JOHN NAGENDA

“What you ate long ago returns long afterward.” Or more elegantly put in its original Luganda tongue: Okalya dda kadda dda. The returning is not always pleasant, indeed carries a whiff of revenge. The dish you ate long ago, an

BY JOHN NAGENDA

“What you ate long ago returns long afterward.” Or more elegantly put in its original Luganda tongue: Okalya dda kadda dda. The returning is not always pleasant, indeed carries a whiff of revenge. The dish you ate long ago, and possibly much enjoyed, nevertheless returns to haunt you.


Reference, in this instance to what Israel “ate”, would be to the 61 years since that country was first formed (some would say, re-formed). Next would be to look at its often severe mistreatment of its neighbours, the Arabs (some would say the true owners of the land annexed by Mandate to the Israelites in 1948).

It is a notorious tale, although many, including this columnist, understand why the persecuted Jews had to be found a home near their original one. It is what followed, with scant regard to the rights of the expelled Arab Palestinians, that sticks in the craw. So what does Obama’s raised fist mean, and is it feasible?

The USA is the strongest supporter of the State of Israel, financially and militarily, sinking big billions into its exchequer annually, and affording it military protection against all-comers. This has put a permanent sneer of massive proportions on Israel’s features towards its neighbours, and to the world. Now President Obama seeks to redress this wrong, without ever abandoning Israel. It is feasible, on the principle of who “calls the tune”, undoubtedly the US.

It is morally right because of the circumstances. It is elegant, because of the easily visible route taken: stopping all Israeli building in the resettled areas. Israel is stubbornly against; it would be great folly to underestimate the American fist. The Palestinian should take the same advice. It would be calamitous to both sides to ignore this route of minimum risk.

Obama, after a subdued start on the thorny Middle East conundrum, is hitting the ground running. Some of us questioned what we interpreted as tardiness. Some, excluding me, will now question his capacity to carry it through.
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Returning to here, your columnist has been shaken but not stirred by the goings-on of the Kyabazingaship of Busoga.

I refer to Kyabazingaship, rather than Kingship, because until comparatively recently, the Basoga talked of their Kyabazinga, and left it at that. They did not feel the urge to use the newly fangled title of King.

Myself and my next brother Stephen first went to Busoga College Mwiri in ’48, and from that time long ago until now, mostly in the media, I’ve hardly ever heard a real Musoga refer to the Kyabazinga as King. And in fact there was a feature of kingship or monarchy that was absent in Busoga: it was not hereditary. So now a son of the late, saintly, Kyabazinga Muloki, has unwisely agreed to be crowned “King”, with predictable yells of derision from Busoga “chiefs” who call the whole drama a sham, as well they might. Dramatic, even hysterical, are some of these Basoga, not excluding one or two of their womenfolk, as Uganda is daily learning! They are closely followed by something called UPC.

This week its magically well preserved, even beautiful, leader, Widow Miria Obote, slung out of the party some “rebels”. How did they achieve this title? They went to Nairobi to convince one Olara Ottunu, once a favourite of high UN officials, now completely unknown, to become UPC Leader. No wonder Madame O did not appreciate the joke! Poor old UPC, so nasty when in office (as we showed when we served on the Uganda Human Rights Commission a decade and a half ago) is now a mere disappearing decimal point. Nothing could be more deserved: RIP!
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It might seem a far jump from the matter above to a cricketer of great note, indeed one of the greatest of all time, Brian Charles Lara. But remember he has been called a Prince of Cricket, although it is not assured there is a Kingship to inherit. Hilarious it was when Foreign State Minister Okello, on the other hand, claimed Lara as belonging to Kitgum, on the strength of the word Lara translating as “Save us” in the language of that region, true or false!

It was at a banquet given in Brian Lara’s honour by the High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago - Lara hailing from that country. Okello had before then named another famous person, one B H Obama of USA, as another Kitguman. (Where will it all end!) CLR James, the famous West Indian author and thinker once wrote: “What do they know, who only cricket know?”

He meant that cricket was so big a thing that merely to play it wasn’t enough because overall it reached into so many facets of life (and life into so many facets of cricket) that the two were intertwined. Another philosopher went even further, saying Cricket was like Life, only more so! In Lara this shines brighter than in many other cricketers, however great; which he so well captured in his speeches during his visit. But still, he is cheating himself, and the rest of us, to have retired so early.

Apart from all the records (he held plenty) there was the graceful ferocity in their making, especially, batting. And, too, the challenges that he and his near-equal, the Indian Sachin Tendulkar, endlessly tossed at each other in a non-hate fury that has rarely been seen on the cricket stage.

Your humble columnist used all his imagined persuasive gifts to tempt Lara back to Cricket, possibly to no avail; but Never Say Die!

Obama raises fist to Israel

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